In Archetypes, Branding


Chipotle Mexican Grill’s Marketing

Using The Revolutionary and Explorer Archetypes

Here’s a marketing strategy for today and beyond:

If you offer something of value, consumers will return. If you offer something of value that can be shared, consumers will tweet, Instagram, post, sing, dance, and share it with their friends. 

This strategy might seem obvious by now, but there are only a few brands really owning it. One of them is Chipotle Mexican Grill, a Revolutionary and Explorer Archetype organization.

Chipotle you say? Isn’t that a spice?

Unknown1Chipotle Mexican Grill is a chain of restaurants in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Germany specializing in burritos and tacos. It’s name is derived from chipotle, the Mexican-Spanish name for a smoked and dried jalapeno chili pepper.

Chipotle’s mission statement is called “Food with Integrity” and highlights its efforts in using organic ingredients and how it serves more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant chain.

An Education Philosophy

The “more, more, more” mindset of more ads, more billboards, more stuff isn’t sitting well with today’s consumers. We’re so used to them we go through our day ignoring them. Instead, we want something valuable and in exchange we’ll give you our money, information or time.

Chipotle doesn’t do “more, more, more.” It isn’t just pushing its name out into the universe and hoping a customer walks in. Instead, they are offering something valuable. Chipotle is educating consumers about a topic integral to its values and brand.

Explorer-Revolutionary Archetype

Explorer brands value individuality, independence, self-actualization, new experiences, growth, change, and being a scout for new ideas.

Revolutionary brands value the capacity to think and act outside of ordinary boxes; a robust and energetic willingness to take risks, and the freedom to do and think what you please as long as you don’t harm anyone else.

Revolutionary brands take great pride in implementing cutting-edge ideas and using them to help others while Explorer brands envision a utopia where people can express individual perspectives while remaining trusted and appreciated.

Chipotle is a combination Explorer/Revolutionary organization.

The Chipotle marketing difference

Chipotle’s marketing strategy has always leaned more towards grassroots and word of mouth. Unlike other fast food chains, it uses a much smaller budget, barely advertises and does its work in-house. It’s had only one television commercial thus far and an occasional billboard. But even its one commercial wasn’t traditional by any means. It featured Willie Nelson telling a two-minute animated story of a farmer who goes industrial and then realizes he wants a more sustainable operation.

In general, Chipotle seems to shy away from traditional media in an effort to attract its primary customers, millennials, whom often state that traditional media is inauthentic and hard to connect with. But still, how is Chipotle’s annual revenue over $2 billion with no ads? Typical of an Explorer-Revolutionary brand, it’s thinking outside the box in a big way.

The Scarecrow

scarecrowChipotle released a three-minute animated video called “The Scarecrow” in which the title character grows appalled by the quality-compromising tactics employed by the food industry. Eventually the scarecrow goes guerrilla and starts his own taco stand, replete with farm-fresh ingredients.

This video is all part of the education process. Chipotle’s customers desire receiving something first and, if satisfied, they will return their loyalty twofold. Chipotle is teaching consumers about where their food comes from and this message is one that rings with customers of all ages – no more factory farming.  And don’t be deterred by thinking, “Oh the video is just an ad.” Chipotle’s name shows up – in small print – only in the introduction and the logo is displayed only after the video is over. This isn’t an ad; it’s an informative call to action.

Even more impressive is that the video also promotes a new arcade-style game called The Scarecrow that is available as a free app for iPhone and iPad users. The game encourages users to rescue caged animals, protect vulnerable veggies and bring fresh food to the people who need it.

A powerful, authentic mission.

A story is only powerful if it’s authentic. It’s authentic if it’s aligned with core values, true to an archetype. Explorer-Revolutionary organizations resist constraints and put values before work. Pride in these organizations comes in the name of cutting-edge thinking, counterculture creations, and helping the greater human cause. The reason Chipotle’s marketing strategy works is because it’s authentic.

Back to our marketing strategy: Are Chipotle’s videos something of value? Are they something that can be shared? Perhaps go viral? Absolutely.

What do you think of Chipotle’s videos or archetype? Let us know on Facebook, by tweet @AllegoryStudios or in a comment below.

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